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Resilient Loughrea survive a tough test from Turlough

Stephen Glennon

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Loughrea's Alan Cormican prepares to clear his lines against Turloughmore's Barry McDonagh during the clubs' championship tie at Kenny Park on Sunday evening. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Loughrea 1-17

Turloughmore 0-18

THEY haven’t gone away just yet, Loughrea, and while the names and the face of the team may change, the same ethos of hard work and a never-say-die attitude is continually nurtured within the camp from year to year.

Yes, there were times when Turloughmore had Loughrea on the ropes in this tight Senior ‘A’ hurling championship affair at Kenny Park, Athenry on Sunday evening but like the old pro, the Town bobbed and weaved their way out of trouble before landing the counter punch.

The most significant blow was Jamie Ryan’s goal on 38th minute when the equally impressive Shane O’Brien set up the diminutive sharpshooter for a clinical strike to put Loughrea 1-13 to 0-10 ahead and, more importantly, left Turloughmore chasing a result.

That Turlough would later gain parity on the stroke of full-time following three unanswered points from Ronan Badger (2) and Conor Shaughnessy (free) said something about Damien Fox’s charges fighting spirit but they then coughed up two cheap frees in injury-time to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Loughrea captain Neil Keary, who would finish with nine points, nailed those two dead balls after Oisin Coyle and Eoin Mahony were fouled on 62 and 63 minutes respectively.

While Loughrea will be delighted with sealing an opening day win, Turloughmore, by the same token, will ponder where they went wrong. They enjoyed as much possession than Loughrea – even more – but were unable to translate this into meaningful scoring opportunities.

On this front, perhaps the stop-start nature of the contest didn’t help. In all, there were 31 frees and Turloughmore, at times, just couldn’t get to grips with the lack of rhythm whereas Loughrea were better able to manage the game-time.

Indeed, Loughrea are the masters of broken play and they have this ability to inject intensity into their game when the ball is alive. On this front, coach Gerry Spelman is a good fit and his fingerprints could be seen on this performance in terms of the manner in which Loughrea harried and hassled their opponents into overturning possession.

So, although Turloughmore had secured over twice as many puck-outs as Loughrea in the opening period, it was Loughrea who had built up a four-point advantage on a scoreline of 0-11 to 0-7.

Points in that opening half from O’Brien and Keary (free) had got Loughrea off the mark but then Turlough hit five points on the bounce through Conor Shaughnessy, Darren O’Shaughnessy (3) and a long range Jamie Holland free to jump into a 12th minute lead.

From there, however, the wheels somewhat came off the wagon for Turlough as Loughrea outscored them nine points to two over the remainder of the half. Keary was on target with five of those – all from placed balls – while Johnny Coen, Gearoid Loughnane, Oisin Coyle and Jamie Ryan also contributed.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

CITY TRIBUNE

Rough justice on Finnerty as NUIG fall to a narrow defeat

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NUI Galway's Dessie Conneely tries to break away from Michael Flood of UCC during Sunday's Sigerson Cup clash in Dangan. Photo: Hany Marzouk.

NUIG 1-14

UCC 2-12

Conor McKenna in Dangan

NUIG footballers were eliminated from the Sigerson Cup when falling to a heartbreaking one-point defeat against UCC in Dangan on Sunday.

The outcome was particularly rough justice on NUIG’s Robert Finnerty, who was magnificent throughout, scoring 1-9 and causing the UCC defence untold problems

This was an outstanding game of football, with both sides set up to attack and try and win the game, which led to an excellent spectacle for the sizeable crowd in Dangan.

The new rules were very much in effect on this occasion, as the advanced mark was used on various occasions, as was the new sin-bin rule.

NUIG a perfect start, scoring the opening four points to give themselves an early lead, with Finnerty (2) and Finian O Laoi (2) finding the target.

UCC responded superbly, however, scoring 2-1 in quick succession, with their goals coming from Galway native Rory Cunningham and James McEntee to give themselves the lead. The Cork students went onto to score the next four points in a row, as the visitors established a seven-point lead.

NUIG responded with two points from Finnerty, before UCC replied with two of their own, but the Galway college registered 1-3 without reply before the interval, starting with a superb goal from Finnerty, who caught a high ball before finishing to the net.

The hosts finished the half with three more points, as UCC held a 2-7 to 1-9 lead at half time. Cunningham and Finnerty traded scores after the interval, before UCC’s Dylan Casey was sent to the sin-bin for ten-minutes and Finnerty added another score to level proceedings.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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First up for Galway United are Athlone Town at home

Keith Kelly

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Galway native, Tommy Molloy (right), pictured with Galway United manager Alan Murphy after he joined his hometown club from UCD.

GALWAY United will open their 2020 First Division campaign with a home game against Athlone Town on Friday, February 21, at Eamonn Deacy Park (7.45pm).

The fixtures list was released on Friday evening and features the controversial inclusion of a Shamrock Rovers ‘B’ side. The Dublin team – listed in the fixtures as ‘Shamrock Rovers II’ – replace Limerick FC, which folded last season after running up debts of close to €500,000, and they will provide the opposition for United’s first away game in Tallaght Stadium on Saturday, February 29 (3pm).

The First Round of the EA Sports Cup will be played on Monday, March 9; while the First Round of the FAI Cup is scheduled for the weekend ending Sunday, August 9. There will be a midseason break from Saturday June 13 to Thursday June 25.

The regular season is scheduled to run from Friday, February 21 to Saturday, September 19 – when United conclude their campaign with an away game against UCD – before the promotion play-offs begin.

This season, the winners of the First Division will be automatically promoted, but the teams that finished from second to fifth will still have the chance of also making the jump to the Premier Division.

The 2020 format will see the team that finishes second play the team that finishes fifth in a two-leg play-off; and the teams that finish third and fourth will also meet in a two-leg play-off. The winners of those two ties will then meet in another two-leg play-off; with the winners of that tie playing the team that finished ninth in the Premier Division, also in a two-leg play-off.

United are generally listed as 11/2 fourth favourites for the title, behind Drogheda United, Longford Town, and Bray Wanderers, and they look to be an attractive price considering the work that has been put-in during the off-season in preparing for the new campaign.

United manager, Alan Murphy, has assembled a squad of 23 players for the season, including the majority of last year’s panel, plus the addition of some experienced players.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Devon edge closer to top as Hibs fall to foot of table

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Josh Marvesley (left) scored the equaliser for Salthill Devon against Corrib Rangers.

Soccer Wrap with Mike Rafferty

With the inclement weather allowing just a limited weekend programme, the games played were very significant as Salthill Devon moved to within a point of Western Hygiene Supplies Premier Division leaders Mervue United with a home success over Corrib Rangers.

In the lower half of the table, Hibernians went down to defeat against St Bernard’s and in the process slipped to the foot of the table alongside Maree/Oranmore.

In the FAI Junior Cup, Athenry produced a fairytale recovery as they came from 3-0 down before eventually seeing off Manulla 5-4 after extra time and in the process moved into the last 16 of the competition where they were presented with a home draw against Dublin side, Crumlin United.

PREMIER LEAGUE

Salthill Devon 3

Corrib Rangers 1

Salthill Devon recovered from an uncharacteristic sluggish first-half on the all-weather pitch in Drom last Friday night, to really up their performance on the resumption as three second-half goals eventually eased them to a merited victory and in the process maintained the only unbeaten record in the Premier League.

Rangers are not exactly enjoying the best of good fortune on their return to the top flight, but in difficult wind conditions impressed as a David Smith goal gave them a 1-0 interval advantage with an effort from the edge of the box.

The home side kick-started their recovery on the resumption when Josh Marvesley levelled matters with a header after getting on the end of a James Allen cross. They took the lead when Jason Murphy and Shane Concannon linked up to release exciting young prospect Matthew Murray and he dinked an elegant chip over the advancing Shane Richardson to make it 2-1.

Gearoid Ó Leidhinn set up Michael Lee for the third as he followed up on his midweek two goals tally against West United to seal the win and in the process set up an intriguing title battle with Mervue United and Athenry.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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